Via Todd Mayville
on Nov 28, 2009
Book review: Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything (Deborah Schoeberlein)
Schools are a whirlwind of activity. Teachers and students, caught up in the hustle and spin of activity, rarely take the time to just notice what is going around them, let alone within them, all in the name of raising standardized test scores. And yet, mindfulness in education is seen by many as important to the success of everyone involved, if only there was time. In the spirit of David Forbes’ Boyz 2 Buddhas, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness author and teacher Deborah Shoeberlein demonstrates that being more aware in and out of the classroom can take a simple five minutes, or even as little as one minute, and can strengthen one’s skills as an educator as well as strengthening the learning and cognitive abilities of students.
Through her book, Schoeberlein gives suggestions and guidance in methods and techniques to encourage teachers to be more mindful of what is going on within before, during, and even after school. Next, tools and exercises are provided to the reader to be able to share mindfulness with students while being cognizant of administrative and parental concerns, test-driven curricular conflicts, and skepticism from all involved. Her approach is pointedly non-sectarian and not directly spiritual, a valuable aspect to the work, enabling teachers to utilize these techniques in their classroom regardless of their own spiritual beliefs or those of their students. The exercises in the book are quick to master, and those offered for students are numerous and open-ended enough to be offered to students regardless of grade level.
Perhaps the only thing that might have strengthened this book would have been a list of resources and research supporting the author’s claims. In a field where “research-based” has become the mantra of politicians and administrators, being able to cite sources outside of the author would make utilizing these approaches more palatable to those “not in the know” when it comes to the link between mindfulness and education.
Looking for the perfect gift for an educator (or even yourself)? Pick this up for them. They’ll thank you for it. From Wisdom Publications and available at your local, independent bookstore. (Shop local! Shop independent! Tell ‘em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)